I’d like for 2022 to be my “year of habits”, so this note will act as a place to store wisdom and thoughts related to creating/maintaining/losing habits.
To make a thing inevitable, do as much as you can right now. For instance, to make it inevitable to take a letter to my office the next day, I put it inside my shoes. - BF Skinner
Habits > Willpower If you want to change your own behavior, developing a new habit is going to be more effective than applying willpower. 1
The consistency of your endeavors (exercise, companionship, work) is more important than the quantity. Nothing beats small things done every day, which is way more important than what you do occasionally. 2
We tend to overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can achieve in a decade. Miraculous things can be accomplished if you give it ten years. A long game will compound small gains to overcome even big mistakes. 2
If you repeated what you did today 365 more times will you be where you want to be next year? 2
Habit is far more dependable than inspiration. Make progress by making habits. Don't focus on getting into shape. Focus on becoming the kind of person who never misses a workout. 2
This is inspired by the post Finding my baseline from Mike Crittenden. In essence a baseline are the things you do in a day to keep you in a good headspace and not dip into existentialism/depression/$YOUR_PERSONAL_HANGUP (for me it's usually existentialism). A lot of these are what new habits are generally driving towards - adjusting your baseline so you can feel better each day.
My current baseline is:
- Did some writing (at least one 30 minute stretch). The topic doesn't seem to matter, just the act of dedicated writing seems to energise me.
- 2 or less coffees. More than that sends me spiralling as I tend to sleep late and that flow into the next day.
- Following on from that, roughly 7-8 hours of sleep, ideally at a recurring time.
- I'm sticking to my GTD reviews, specifically doing a daily review. If I don't do this I start to feel adrift.
- Having a tidy workspace. Whenever I'm not at my best my desk tends to accumulate clutter. Whether the clutter is an input or output doesn't really matter - tidying up helps me find balance.
I'd like to add to that list, but I'm still trying to figure out what exactly fits!
It's important to remember that every habit starts with the smallest of actions:
It only takes five minutes to break the cycle.
Five minutes of exercise and you are back on the path. Five minutes of writing and the manuscript is moving forward again. Five minutes of conversation and the relationship is restored.
It doesn’t take much to feel good again. 3